Brendon Bussy

Ear Shells at Sounding Out

Posted in Art, Design, Events, Invention, Materials, Research, Sound, Workshops by Brendon Bussy on June 30, 2012

This coming week I’m going up to Johannesburg to take part in an exhibition at the Bag Factory. It opens on Wednesday night(4th July). And I’ll also be running a workshop on the 7th July (details here).

Sounding Out deals with contemporary music and visual art. A rarity on the South African experimental scene, I’m looking forward to this gathering of sound artists and sound thinking people.

When the show’s curator Kim Gurney approached me in March of this year, I considered a number of ideas which I’ve been experimenting with, but each seemed too noisy. An odd thing for a sound artist to say you might wonder? Well my thinking was that any idea worth pursuing would need to take into consideration the possibility of there being a number of  noisy artists in one room.

So I decided to take a silent approach and create something which could be used to listen with – to the works on the show as well as other sounds in the building.

Eventually I came up with a modified hearing instrument, in some ways similar to my Kone Phones, but durable and much more useful.  I’m very happy with the resulting Ear Shells.

Ear Shells

Here’s me sporting the first model I made.

Me with Ear Shells

The listening experience is something like covering your ears with shells, (more…)

Ulrich Müller (Interview Part 2) – A Long Tradition of Skeptics and Inventors

Posted in Interview, Music, Sound by Brendon Bussy on December 6, 2011

[This is a continuation of an interview – read part one here.]

Cape and the Eternity: 48nord - Ulrich Müller (e-guit, laptop, devices) & Sigi Rössert (e-bass, laptop, devices) with Patrick Schimanski (drums, voice, laptop, devices) pic Franz Kimmel

Part 2 – A Long Tradition of Skeptics and Inventors
In which Ulrich describes the technological development of his practice as well as the future of music.

BB: I’m most intrigued by the evolution of your performance set up. I find it interesting that set ups ‘settle down’ after much change and experimentation into something which feels like a complete ‘system’ or instrument. Being that this isn’t the first setup you’ve worked with, what would you regard as the elements crucial to a useful setup?

UM: It was constant change over many years that led me to the point at which I now consider my setup as a complex instrument which I constantly develop.

A journey from guitar and back
It all began when I was a rock musician. This meant heavy amplification, a set of nice guitars and a couple of standard stomp boxes such as phaser, flanger, vibrato, wah wah… and a great sound. Then I stepped into this strange world of experimental music which actually brought me far away from playing guitar for a couple of years. (more…)

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Ulrich Müller (Interview Part 1) – A Wonderful Contradiction

Posted in Interview, Music, Sound by Brendon Bussy on November 29, 2011

Munich based musician and composer Ulrich Müller recently visited Cape Town. I bumped into him last December at an As Is gig – the free improv group I play with. Not heard of him? Well that’s probably because, despite his being well established as a composer of music for dance (with 48nord), his work as a performer inhabits the territory broadly known as ‘Electroacoustic music’, subcategory ‘Free Improvisation’. Which would no doubt make him anonymous for South African and certainly many other audiences – an unfortunate state of affairs.

Well this time here for a holiday with his partner Tanja, we managed to work in some very enjoyable jam time and also time to talk, which led to an interview. Here follows part 1 of the interview (part 2 to be posted shortly)….

Ulrich Müller

Part 1 – A Wonderful Contradiction.
In which Ulrich speaks about his musical interventions in Munich and his performance and composition philosophy. (more…)

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How to make a Wind Harp on a Sunday

Posted in Invention, Recording, Sound, Wind by Brendon Bussy on October 28, 2011

It’s spring here in Cape Town, so the wind is back  (winter wind normally means freezing rain as well!). So recently we headed to the Rondebosch common to play with wind harps amongst the flowering fynbos.

This year I’ve been experimenting with using disposable bottles to make simple plucked harps based on Congolese harps. Recently I discovered that they sound great when played by the wind and listened to whilst being held like  an 80’s radio cassette boom box 🙂

Jessica listening to and jamming on a portable boombox harp

These harps sing with a high pitched and ethereal voice. And if you feel inspired you can add rhythms by plucking as well. (I’ll soon be posting DIY instructions on how to make one of these).

Justin at the helm with (from left), Trevor, Jessica and myself.

We also made a long string harp. Read on for pics, diy instructions and a recording…. (more…)

Listen to And Not But Speak

Posted in Art, Materials, Recording, Sound by Brendon Bussy on May 27, 2011

I’ve been hanging out with the wrong sort, but it’s not been bad.

Francis Burger and Christian Nerf who operate on the sanding edge of conceptual art here in Cape Town invited me to contribute to their new installation at the AVA titled ‘And Not But‘.

They asked me to interact with its centre piece,  a sculptural form.  By talking to it.  And recording the conversation.

Here’s a working model of the chap at the centre of  the attention, ‘And Not But’  (the final version in marble, wood and resin can be seen here):

And Not But (wood, wood glue, incidental ballpoint ink)

Well as it turned out, I wasn’t the only one going to be doing the talking. And just as well you might say (for those who know me).  (more…)

The Pleasant Art of Bottle Arranging

Posted in Design, Invention, Materials, New Old Old New, Sound, Workshops by Brendon Bussy on May 25, 2011

I decided to try some lavish documentation of a few of my musical instrument experiments.

So, in the spirit of Ikebane (the harmonious art of Japanese flower arranging) we have:

The Breakfast Punch Harp.

Breakfast Punch Harp

Breakfast Punch Harp: 1 litre tetrapack, chopstick, gut

Made from a juice box of my favourite flavour, this ‘throw-away’ harp is one of my secret weapons.  Despite its temporary nature, and unpredictable sounds, I seem to use it more and more – live and in soundtracks. (more…)

Table Lamp + Inspiration = Soundtrack

Posted in Design, Invention, New Old Old New, Sound, Soundtracks by Brendon Bussy on May 2, 2011

Recently two of my troublingly diverse interests conspired to create a soundtrack for the production Door which will play at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival this year.

This is how it came about….

Earlier this year, I was wandering around Cape Town’s Cape  Design Indaba, after running a workshop.  I found myself  drawn to a project display which attracted me due to its ‘work in progress’  nature.  I love prototypes, they smell of pure idea and this one positively reeked 🙂

Run by two young industrial design graduates who call themselves ThingKing, their stand offered a kit table lamp fabricated as simply as possible –  a metal flat bar, elegantly bent and cut.  A bulb socket, light bulb and piece of A4 paper completed the construction.  On sale for a donation (to a worthy charity) and on display as a stimulus to conversation about efficient design, I couldn’t resist (especially the conversation) and I took one home to assemble for use on my work bench.

Here it is:

table lamp

And as a lamp it’s been very useful.  But little did I know that this useful object would become the catalyst for a sound track. (more…)

Jacques van Zyl and the Wynberg String Accelerator

Posted in Electronics, Invention, Research, Sound by Brendon Bussy on March 9, 2011

My collaborations with Jacques go back to our first meeting at the Unyazi Electronic music festival (Joburg 05).
I’d created a work for the festival called CMYK, based on an analysis of a visual work by Paul Edmunds – a rather long winded live Audiomulch and Mandolin performance , which met with an unexpectedly enthusiastic audience response (my immediate thought “I’ve sold out!”).

The next day I ran a workshop and afterwards had a long chat with this very polite man who confessed to have recorded my performance and professed that he was a ‘flight attendant’ quickly following that with (in case there was any confusion) ‘you know – like an air hostess’, but also that he built speakers and amplifiers and wasn’t planning to stay in his present high flying occupation for long.

He didn’t and instead went on to resign and put all of his energies into developing Phi Audio, his bespoke speaker company.  And we continued to correspond and, where possible, when Jacques was in town, to dabble in a range of audio experiments including (more…)

Monument at the Cape Town Castle

Posted in Events, Sound by Brendon Bussy on February 23, 2011

I spent the past few weeks creating the sound design for Peter Van Heerden and Anne Historical’s (aka Bettina Malcomess) performance, Monument.  Sponsored by GIPCA, its single performance took place last Friday evening – a dramatically (but fortunately not too) windy and balmy evening outside a major landmark, the  Castle of Good Hope – the oldest permanent built structure in South Africa.

Unfolding over about 45 mins, the performance started with a walk through an abandoned part of Cape Town central station (more…)